SFMTA approves tweaked plan for taxi medallion program 

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  • SF Examiner file photo

Despite a din of protests from cabdrivers, a new plan for how The City administers taxi operating permits was approved Tuesday.

For decades, drivers have been able to bide their time on a lengthy waiting list to obtain a taxi medallion, a permit that can be leased out to other cabbies. As part of a pilot project that’s been running for the past two years, drivers with $250,000 have been able to jump to the top of the list to purchase a medallion.

But on Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates taxis, unanimously approved a long-term plan to succeed the pilot. Now, medallion holders to can sell their wares to eligible drivers for $300,000, with the SFMTA collecting one-third of that payment. The new owner can then transfer those medallions one time for $300,000, with the SFMTA collecting another 20 percent cut.

Aggrieved drivers said the plan will completely negate the efforts of those who have stayed on the waiting list for decades hoping to get a medallion for a nominal processing fee.

“I’m incredibly disappointed,” said Tara Housman, one of seven members of an industry advisory council who resigned in protest of the plan. “This is a kick in the teeth to every driver on the waiting list.”

Originally, the SFMTA wanted to collect a 50 percent fee for all medallions purchased and a 30 percent fee for all transfers, but those numbers were amended down to 33 percent and 20 percent, respectively. The SFMTA said the program will give aging drivers a meaningful exit strategy — the minimum age for selling a medallion was reduced from 65 to 60 — and provide public funds for transportation initiatives, including improvements to the taxi industry.


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Will Reisman

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